NBC analyst Johnny Miller can’t wait to see how the game’s newest stars keep developing this season.
Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee can’t wait to see what compelling comeback stories unfold.
During an NBC/Golf Channel Conference call Wednesday ahead of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Miller paid a giant compliment to today’s players, comparing this era to one of the game’s best.
“My era was a pretty darned good era, with like a dozen really, really good players, and it seems like we're now in an era with an equal number of big stars, so to speak,” Miller said. “You've got, obviously, Tiger [Woods] and Rory [McIlroy] and Martin Kaymer and Bubba [Watson] and all these guys, [Matt] Kuchar and [Henrik] Stenson and [Justin] Rose and [Adam] Scott and Rickie Fowler and Sergio [Garcia]. You've got this really great core group, so it'll be really interesting to see if Rory can separate himself and to see what Tiger does.
“I think the Rory-Tiger thing is obviously the No. 1 story, whether Rory can keep it going and start doing stuff. He already is doing stuff like Tiger did, and whether Tiger can get his game where he's scoring and challenging and can make it really interesting . . . There are a lot of good story lines.
“We're going to have a great, great year of golf.”
Chamblee was equally bullish on 2015.
“There are so many head-spinning potential stories,” Chamblee said. “From a comeback standpoint, nothing is going to trump Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson.”
Johnson left the game last year, with Golf.com reporting he was suspended for a third failed drug test. He won early in last season’s 2013-14 wraparound schedule at the HSBC Champions, extending his streak of earning at least one victory in each of his first seven seasons on the PGA Tour. When he returns this year, he will be looking to make it eight.
“He leads the PGA Tour in consecutive years with wins, and you start to look at players that won in their rookie years and [over their first seven seasons]: Ernie Els, Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus,” Chamblee said. “That’s it in the last 60 years that have done that. Looking forward to watching Dustin Johnson come back.
“Beyond that, the stories of Rory at the Masters, perhaps completing the career Grand Slam, Phil at the U.S. Open, Tiger at St. Andrews, Whistling Straits, the Olympics run-up, who can get to two majors, Justin Rose or Adam Scott, and then the long putter debate . . . So many great stories piled up on top of one another waiting to emerge in 2015. So I
mean, I'm salivating.”